HANFORD — After years under a different department, the Kings County Elections office will now be its own standalone department in the county.
At their meeting Tuesday, the Kings County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on a resolution that created a standalone Elections office and approved the appointment of a new registrar of voters.
Prior to February of this year, the Elections office was a division under the assessor/clerk-recorder.
Rebecca Campbell, county administrative officer, said the board conferred with the registrar of voters at the time and decided to transfer the Elections division under Campbell’s office while they evaluated a long term plan.
After the county put together a working group to evaluate the situation, Campbell said the group recommended to the board that the best option for the public would be a standalone department.
The board made that decision Tuesday with a 4-0 vote of approval. Supervisor Richard Valle was absent from the meeting.
The board had already adopted in March a job specification and allocated one full-time equivalent registrar of voters. Recruitment was held and candidate Lupe Villa was selected.
“I am delighted to say that the Board has hired a qualified candidate for the Registrar of Voters position,” Campbell said in an email Wednesday.
Campbell said Villa took responsibility of the Elections office on July 15. He will receive $9,000 a month, including management benefits.
She said Villa began his career with the county in 1995. He comes from the Kings County Human Services Agency, and Campbell said his last position held was program manager in the Administration division.
Villa’s responsibilities will be to plan, organize, coordinate and direct the staff and activities of the county's Elections department, with primary responsibility for the registration of voters, holding federal, state and local elections, and all matters pertaining to elections in Kings County, Campbell said.
In addition, the registrar of voters assists candidates with questions pertaining to election processes and deadlines, Campbell said. She said the office also maintains records, administers the laws regarding campaign financing and elections, prepares indices and statistics as required by federal, state and local election laws, and surveys polling locations for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance.
In other good news, Campbell said the county was awarded $341,500 in March for the replacement of its antiquated voting system.
“The County’s new Registrar of Voters will ensure a smooth installation process and transition to produce successful elections in the future,” she said.
Campbell thanked the board of supervisors, Elections office staff and Kings County citizens for entrusting her in the interim time period to oversee the transition of the office.